A Silk Purse From a Sow’s Ear

 Once an older photo is made digital it is possible to improve the lighting, do some creative cropping, and adjust the color but if the image is one that you did not particularly like to begin with chances are that having it made digital will not improve how you feel about the picture.

Lately I have been working with clients who have spent a great deal of time sorting old photos to have them made into digital images, and they have invested money on the scanning to do so. Once they have these old photos on a disc they approach me to create a photo book project for them. One of the projects that I am approached most often for is creating a “life story” or a family history using a mix of old photos and recent photos, a creative mix to show a life well lived. Many times a project of this nature is to mark a milestone birthday, usually of a parent and it becomes a wonderful gift from the heart.

If a project like this is something you have been thinking about, then a word of caution. Be ruthless in the sorting of your pictures, limit the number of pictures, pick only the best images to be scanned, and be realistic about what can be done with that picture. Many pictures are worth the time and effort, they call back memories of special times in our lives, or a once in a lifetime moment: a baptism, a confirmation, graduating from school, a wedding, and treasured photos of those no longer with us. Not all photos fall into that category, nor do we necessarily want to be reminded of our fashion faux pas. Ellen DeGeneres had a recent show where the contestants displayed the worst photos of themselves that they had paid someone for (in most cases terrible high school photos that no one should have ever paid money for). Oprah had a similar show when she showed pictures of herself from her older shows and we all got to laugh at the big hair, big earrings, bad makeup, wild prints and many other fashion mistakes.

No matter the occasion some things cannot be changed: if you have a bad graduation photo, if you let friends take your wedding pictures instead of hiring a professional, or if all of your pictures from the 80′s make you look like a football player in shoulder pads these cannot be changed. Recognize that you are choosing to record and preserve an era, and value those photos that show who you were at that point in time. Do not judge your appearance in those photos from past years by today’s standards. If you are like me you probably have lots of photos with a bad haircut, homemade clothes, and a freshly scrubbed face. For my wedding I made my own wedding dress, a tunic with pants, unheard of in those days.  My mother baked my wedding cake and the small reception was in the home of my best friend’s mother.  A friend took my wedding photos and they were mostly bad. Viewed with today’s eyes where brides wear designer gowns, spend more on a photographer and flowers than my first down payment on a house, and are shot like models in exotic setting my wedding pictures are very dated and pretty laughable. However they are my special moment, and tell my special story and I know when I hand down that photo book created to celebrate my wedding day it will be treasured by my family. Those photos will never be a silk purse, many of them started as a sow’s ear. I have discarded the worst, saved the best and captured the moment.

As Featured On EzineArticles


About the Books

There are many styles and designs to choose from ranging from 5x7, 7x9, 8x8, 8x11 and 12x12. Most books sizes are available in soft cover, hard cover, fabric (suede, satin, cloth) or leather. The minimum book size is 20 pages (10 double sided pages). The maximum book size is 100 pages


Once your virtual photo book is finalized and you are satisfied with the design you will be directed to the Shutterfly website to order the printed copy of your photo book.
Please click on our Shutterfly link for more information on their photo book products and ordering instructions


Q: How long will it take you to complete my photo book?

A: On our Contact Us form please indicate the approximate number of pictures, any deadlines you have, and what book style you think you would like. We will give you an estimate